Monday, 13 December 2010

Winter Wonderland at Centre Parcs

So, a couple of months ago, when Christmas was just a far off possibility, I thought it would be great for us to snatch a quick few days away with the kids before all the craziness began.

"Ooh look..." I pointed out to my husband, "Centre Parcs puts on a Christmas Winter Wonderland in December. Visit to Santa, panto, fake snow, Christmas kids party.....all the usual festive gubbins out of the way in one fell swoop."

Seemed like a good idea. Husband agreed, so we booked to go on the 6th December.

It was of course one of the coldest weeks on record. Temperatures reached -17.5 one night, and the thermometer never ventured a mittened finger above - 5 the whole time we were there. We walked around in constant fear of being impaled by the two foot icicles which draped from every tree and the kids lips turned blue if we were outside for longer than 10 minutes.

If we were a skiing type of family the salopettes, fleeces and polar expedition outerwear would have been invaluable. However this is not equipment we had to hand as neither of us understands the allure of voluntarily turning oneself into a human missile on sticks and calling it a 'holiday' . As it was it took 10 minutes to dress and undress the kids from their 72 outer layers each time we changed location, and we had to learn how to manhandle them whilst wrapped up so tightly they could no longer bend in the middle.

Don't get me wrong it was beautiful, like walking through C.S Lewis's eponymous wardrobe, but as soft city dwellers we are just not used to these weather conditions. Due to slightly hysterical fears about frostbite I didn't take that many external photographs, but here are a few:

My son lobbing a pretty impressive snowball at me:

Our preferred mode of transport to see the big man himself:

The big man pretending he knows who Ben 10 is:


As holidays go it had good times and bad. The horse drawn carriage ride to see Santa was magical; the panto was fun; and the kids were agog at the magic of the setting. However they also remembered to throw in a few regular tantrums to keep us on our toes and invested a large amount of time in perfecting a form of harmonious stereo screeching which they find most amusing.

The worst thing about Centre Parcs is the constant uneasy feeling that you are being politely yet unapologetically ever so slightly ripped off. The good folks of Centre Parcs relax in the knowledge that they have a captive clientele and therefore squeeze that little bit more out of them than is strictly necessary. This included providing each cute little cabin on site with a very tempting log burning fireplace, then charging £10.00 for a bag of three poxy logs which each burned for a maximum of 2 hours. Harumphh.

Accordingly I have taken inspiration from our holiday and this season of goodwill and am happy to share with you the following festive offering;

holly leaves clip-art'The Carol of Centre Parcs'holly leaves clip-art

(to the tune of 'Come All Ye Faithfull')

Oh Come all ye parents,
Stressed and sleep deprived.
Oh Come here
To Centre Parcs
With purses open wide.

Come and behold how we
Part you from your money;
We tempt, entice and lure;
So the children still want more;
Then cry and screech and roar
At Ceeeeeentre Parcs....

I thank you.